By Kristy Johnson.
As an Emmy nominated choreographer on America’s smash hit So You Think You Can Dance, Travis Wall has come a long way since competing on the show. Along with the exposure has come plenty of job opportunities. Not only will we see his choreographic talents in the next Step Up installment – Step Up 4, but Travis has a reality show already in the works.
Dance Informa caught up with Travis from Los Angeles.
How grateful are you to So You Think You Can Dance for all the opportunities you’ve had since competing on the show?
I thank them as much as I can (laughs). They are pretty much responsible for my big break as a choreographer. I was doing the odd job here and there, but because of the exposure I got with the show as a choreographer, it really opened up all the doors and all the jobs I’ve actually had since then. I always call the executive producers and tell them all the time, ‘thank you so much.’ This entire experience has changed my life, and I’m very grateful.
When you were learning Mia Michaels’ Emmy winning ‘The Bench’ piece, did you already know or have a feeling it would garner so much attention?
I actually did not. I was so excited to do the piece with Mia, but at the time my partner was having trouble with it. I wasn’t dancing with a contemporary dancer; I was dancing with a ballroom dancer. So for me I wasn’t thinking about how the audience or judges would respond to it. I was constantly worried about whether my partner would even get through the routine. I didn’t even know if we would finish the routine because she was crying so much. I was worried about that. I wasn’t even worried about what everyone was going to think. I was making sure that we were actually going to have a piece. Right before dress rehearsals, she felt okay about it, so the next time we did it, it was on stage in front of everybody. It really just came to life. So the response from that piece…we weren’t expecting it because we weren’t seeing that product in rehearsal. It kind of just came out of the blue. It got such a huge response.
Congratulations on having your own show picked up – All The Right Moves. Can you tell us what the show will be about and your involvement in it?
The show follows my three closest friends and me. I started a dance company along with two of my best friends called Shaping Sound. The show is really about how to get a dance company up and running. I’m more of a choreographer and my friends are pretty much trying to break in as choreographers, so we’re just trying to get our name out there as much as possible. It’s following us, building this company off the ground, looking at how to get money, how to deal with dancers’ egos, how to deal with our own egos, and the whole process. And at the same time it follows our personal careers and our personal lives. Pretty much the show is what happens to us in our day (laughs). It’s very emotional and it’s definitely something to watch.
How did the concept for a show come about?
A producer approached me and asked what I would think about having my own reality show. I was like, ‘I don’t know about that’. We are all entertaining and together we have a great show. If it were just about me, I don’t know how entertaining that would be (laughs). I introduced my friends to everybody and we came up with this concept. It’s been a two-year process getting this TV show up and running.
How was the experience of choreographing for Step Up 4?
I had an amazing time on the movie. We had to do it pretty fast. We had to choreograph in two weeks! We shot the whole movie in I think two and a half months. We started at the end of August and finished right before Halloween. It was a great experience. It was my first movie choreographing and I can’t wait to do more because of it. I love choreographing in movies!
Did you have a say in casting?
I didn’t have a say in the hip hop casting and I had to actually work with the hip hop dancers. The dancers who I did cast were Miami locals, so I did have a say in some casting. I had a great group of dancers, so I was very happy with whom I found. Sometimes when you’re not working in Los Angeles or New York, you don’t necessarily get the best dancers. I definitely picked the best dancers from Miami, so I was very happy with that.
Top photo: Dancer and Choreographer Travis Wall by Andrew Eccles/Oxygen Media